Lead Management 101: Capturing, Scoring, Distributing and Nurturing

By Hanna SmolanAugust 5, 2015

Do you need to convert more leads to fill the sales funnel? Of course you do! Today we’re covering lead management basics, such as lead capture and score, lead distribution, and conversion.

Sure, your job would be easier if every person you connected with was an ideal candidate for your product. Better yet, let’s imagine that we operate in a world in which all interested prospects came to you – and then you converted them with the greatest of ease because you knew exactly what they wanted, how they found you and the information necessary to convince them to pull out their shiny, plastic card… Ahh, what a dream.

Realistically, that’s just not how it happens (at least not yet, anyway). The good news is, modern technology is actually helping streamline the overall sales process and we’re on a path to make that utopia a reality! Through lead management, sales teams and managers can properly asses the lead gen process and maximize the outcome. Sales dreamland, here we come!

Step 1: Lead Capturing
Your company generates buzz and client interest using a variety of marketing tactics, including blog posts, advertisements, white papers, infographics, social media, events, PR, email marketing campaigns… The list goes on and on.

All that effort is in the pursuit of prospects or consumers engaging with that content, responding positively and sharing their data. This process is called inbound marketing.

Aside from targeted marketing, a successful lead capture strategy includes a captivating landing page (complete with clever headline), a simple, large lead capture form and a strong call to action. Without any of these key features, your strategy will be less than optimized, and ultimately, less successful. The goal of the landing page is to provide the information in an appealing and punchy way, while simultaneously encouraging leads to fill out the form and get more information.

Step 2: Lead Scoring
After you capture a prospect on your line, they’ll need to be sorted by validity and prioritized. Depending on the size of your organization, this sorting process can be as detailed as you would like.

Sit down with your sales team to determine what criteria makes for a marketing and sales qualified lead. Discuss demographics, activities and behaviors. Are they VP-level executives from a specific industry? Do they typically represent small or large businesses? Do we get a higher close rate when they request a demo or are they more drawn to middle-of-the-funnel content like pricing pages? How much, at what frequency and within what span of time does a qualified lead typically engage with your website before conversion?

Step 3: Lead Distribution
After filtering, a lead is dispersed to a sales representative to be contacted. In a study called “Best Lead Distribution Methods for Optimal Sales Performance” by Velocify, participants found that faster response times correlate with higher contact rates which correlate with higher conversion rates and that using multiple distribution methods result in even better performance. Simply put, speed is key in this phase. Train your agents and sales team to make contacting leads a top priority, regardless of what industry or business you’re operating in. Those leads who feel like they’re being taken care of are the ones who are more likely to convert, and rightfully so!

Step 4: Lead Nurturing
Depending on the outcome of a lead’s interaction with your sales team, they can be further sorted in the buying cycle. They may be put into a drip-marketing campaign or schedule additional touch points and follow-up via phone or in person with a company representative.

Of course, if the process ends with a sale, the lead has successfully traveled down the funnel and emerged on the other side as client, so that’s a job well done for your team!

Why is This Important?

This process helps organizations better understand what’s working, what’s not and where they can improve their campaigns. It also helps optimize sales strategies, because calling 10 qualified leads is better than calling 30 unqualified ones. In an infographic created by Marketing Optimizer, it’s discussed that 46% of organizations with mature lead management processes have sales teams that follow up on more than 75% of marketing-generated leads.

To help you ensure that follow-ups (and ultimately, revenue) aren’t slipping through the cracks, best practices typically recommend that you integrate with a lead management database or software. Lead management software is the backbone of any successful sales operation and is the first step to creating qualified opportunities and satisfied clients!

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